The Wisconsin Employer Survey is conducted twice a year by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) — the combined state chamber and manufacturers association. The assessment provides a snapshot of where Wisconsin’s employers stand on a number of important issues and outlines their economic outlook for both Wisconsin and the United States. For the Summer 2023 edition, WMC surveyed 170 employers that make up a representative sample of its membership. Businesses of all sizes, industries and geographic locations in Wisconsin participated.
A new survey of Wisconsin businesses previewed a potential job market cooldown, as fewer employers plan to hire more workers. A majority (54%) of those surveyed rate the Wisconsin economy as moderate, while 39 percent said it is strong or very strong. When specifically asked about the likelihood of a recession, the business community was split.
According to the Wisconsin Employer Survey, 49 percent of businesses expect their number of employees to increase in the next six months — a drop from 68 percent just a year ago and 79 percent in the Summer 2021 survey. The survey also found 75 percent of respondents are struggling to hire, dropping from 85 percent in the last survey. While three-quarters of businesses facing a workforce shortage is still quite high, a 10-point drop in just six months is notable.
A new survey of Wisconsin businesses paints an unflattering picture of the education system in the state. According to the latest Wisconsin Employer Survey, nearly three-quarters of businesses think students graduating from the public K-12 system are not prepared for the workforce. Making matters worse, 56 percent of respondents said they have employees who struggle with the ability to read or do math. The unsettling new information sadly reflects the fact that more than 60 percent of students cannot read or do math at grade level in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin employers continue to struggle with higher costs thanks to historic inflation and a workforce shortage that continues to drive up labor costs. When asked in the Summer 2023 Wisconsin Employer Survey what state government could do to help, businesses strongly recommended policies that would reduce the tax burden, make health care more affordable and rein in burdensome regulations.